Cuomo and de Blasio: New York Politics in 2014

January 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Host Rafael Pi Roman and New York Magazine contributing editor Chris Smith talk New York politics for the year ahead.

After a mayoral campaign in which now-Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized a “tale of two cities” narrative, Governor Andrew Cuomo ended his State of the State address with a declaration of unity:

“At the end of the day, we are one. We are upstate we are downstate but we are one. We are Latino we are African-American but we are one. We are New York City and we are Buffalo but we are one. We are democrat and republican but we are one. That is the promise of this great state. That is E pluribus unum, out of many one. It’s the founding premise, the enduring promise. It’s the promise that we inherited from our parents, and the promise of New York that we’re going to pass on to our children, and the promise, my friends, that we are going to make a reality in this great state working together.”

When asked by host Rafael Pi Roman if Cuomo’s speech was that of a governor who wants to get things accomplished or one who is running for reelection or for president, New York Magazine contributing editor Chris Smith said “both.”

“A lot of it was devoted to Cuomo hammering home what he sees as the accomplishments of the first three years…he then pivoted to say here’s how I’m gonna build on those successes…So there was not a lot of novelty or big, bold ideas, it was building on thing,” Smith said.

One of the biggest items on Cuomo’s 2014 agenda is cutting taxes, which is directly at odds with Mayor de Blasio’s promise to raise taxes on the wealthiest New York City residents in order to pay for universal pre-K. Smith said that he thinks the governor will eventually give in and allow the city to implement the increase.

Web Extra: New York Magazine contributing editor Chris Smith and host Rafael Pi Roman discuss the biggest hurdles coming up for New York City’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The two men have a lot of incentive, both personal and political, to not turn it into a confrontation. And they’ve done a good job…so far of keeping it from being head to head,” he said. Smith also noted that two are genuine friends with generally similar philosophies, but that might change as de Blasio’s tenure as mayor evolves.

“Cuomo…hired de Blasio to work for him at HUD in DC and to some extent the governor still sees de Blasio as a subordinate. When you’re mayor of New York City, you’re almost an equal, and that’s the dynamic that they’re working through right now,” he said.

Pi Roman also asked Smith about the governor’s potential presidential ambitions. Smith said that if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run, “then the path is open for Cuomo.”